Colby and I are continuing our February Read Along on I-94 discussion of The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner. We have decided to focus on major themes in the book. Last week we talked about Nick's relationship with Scooter and this week we are talking about Nick's relationship with Jaycee.
JEN: I mentioned last week that I really enjoyed how Nick’s relationship developed with Jaycee. Jaycee is friends with Scooter and then ends up hanging out more and more with Nick as they try to spend more time with Scooter and then as they head out on an adventure to find Scooter’s dad after he dies. Gae does an amazing job of making their relationship seem totally real and important and yet not the driving force of the book. The book is about helping Scooter but while Nick and Jaycee are busy doing that, they become friends and then gradually more than that.
I’m a huge sucker for romance. I love it. When I was in high school and read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, I cried and cried and cried. There is something so heartwrenchingly amazing about star-crossed lovers. Romeo and Juliet seems to have paved the way for countless books that rely on two people meeting, falling completely in love, and then dealing with issues. Readers have to give themselves over to the fact that two people can fall so completely and hopelessly in love with each other in an instant like that. I have so many theories when it comes to love and relationships that I should even get started but, mainly, I think Romeo-and-Juliet-love can happen and I love to read about it, but I also tend to think that it’s more likely that people have an instant spark of being attracted to each other and then develop their relationship from there (not to mention that we’re always working and strengthening relationships...).
Nick is instantly intrigued by Jaycee when she first shows up at his house with her reporter-step-dad to interview Nick and his family. I love how they more they hang out, the closer they get and how Gae subtly builds their relationship. In the midst of conversations about Scooter or how they’ll find Scooter’s dad, they end up holding hands or Nick puts his arm around Jaycee and I could so feel the excitement of a new relationship. It was just as fun to read about their relationship developing as when I read Romeo and Juliet, maybe even moreso because a Nick-and-Jaycee kind of relationship is so much more real, relate-able, and exciting in it’s own way. Most importantly, real. I wonder how many people have really experienced Romeo-and-Juliet type love compared to Nick-and-Jaycee type love.
COLBY: I think at Nick and Jaycee’s relationship was my favorite part of the book. Nick reminded me a lot of myself in high school. Believe it or not, I was not exactly a ladies’ man in high school. I totally related to Nick’s awkwardness around Jaycee. I have a little bit of Nick in me.
I’m not really a Romeo and Juliet fan, but I would have to say that the romance that I’m getting as I begin to read more YA has been fun. Were there books like TPoG back in the late 90’s? It sure would have been nice to have books like this when I was in school. I had no game, and I thought that that meant that I had zero chance with the ladies. If I could have read TPoG I may have tried to make some moves before the 12th grade.
JEN: Can I just take a second to point out that you keep referring to girls as “the ladies” and it’s making me giggle.
I really don’t think there were books like this in the late 90’s when we were in high school - and that’s not even that long ago. Maybe there were but I sure didn’t know about them. I craved books like this but never really found what I was looking for in my school library. I was lucky enough to go to an awesome high school that was already teaching - and teaching well - with reading and writing workshop so I got to do lots of reading but I don’t remember reading any books like this. I was kind of caught up with reading classics so maybe my head was stuck on those.
From a girl’s perspective...or, I guess, a lady’s perspective...I really think reading this book would have been enlightening for me when I was in high school. It’s so funny to think about teenage guys and girls knowing what I know now. In high school, I always felt like guys should have been able to make moves and I think I put way too much faith in the belief that they weren’t nervous themselves to be able to do that. Obviously, guys get nervous around girls just like we get nervous around guys but I don’t think that was quite apparent in books or movies back then. Now, there are movies with not-so-smooth main characters who are still endearing but I do think that’s a new trend in movies and books.
COLBY: Things worked out great I married my Jaycee (she is so much cooler than me) and I couldn’t be happier. I like to think that Nick and Jayee get married later in life. :)
JEN: I married my Nick, now that I think about it. I will never forget when I caught my first glimpse of my husband. He moved in across the hall from me in our dorm in college. I was talking to my friend who lived next door when I saw my now-husband go into his room. I barely saw him out of the corner or my eye but I swear I felt a surge of energy. After that, we met and then kept finding reasons to hang out. He would come back to the dorm late because he worked for the football team and had practice. I would be in my room hanging out and he would walk down my side of the hallway to get to his room which didn’t really make sense because it was shorter to go down his side of the hall. Somehow, we would end up talking about what I was watching on TV or he would try to beat my Tetris score if I was playing. We spent about a month and a half hanging out before we started dating and now we’ve been together for over 12 years. We are so more a Nick-and-Jaycee kind of couple than a Romeo-and-Juliet kind of couple. Which is a good thing because things didn’t turn out so well for Romeo and Juliet. If Nick and Jaycee end up like you and me, then they have a good chance of getting married and making cute, little, squishy-faced babies and living happily ever after.
COLBY: You know a book is good when you think about a high school couple staying together and making squishy-faced babies. I’m very curious about what high school boys think of the romance in TPoG. It would be interesting to hear what they have to say about it. I always wonder what the intended audience of a book thinks about the book. Sometimes, I love a middle-grade book, but I know that middle-grade readers will not feel the same way about the book. I bet YA readers totally dig TPoG. For, as crazy as their journey was, it seemed so real.
Just wait until next week when we talk about Nick's relationship with his dad and things get even more real and when the real-life author of The Pull of Gravity, Gae Polisner, joins us to talk about her amazing book! Thanks for reading along with us!